THE BEST SCORES OF 2016 – Part Two – The Runners Up and Composers to Watch

SWISS ARMY MAN soundtrack | ©2016 Lakeshore Records

The Runners-Up and Composers to Watch of 2016 The Runners-Up CAPTAIN FANTASTIC  (Alex Somers / Lakeshore) More proof that those in touch with Iceland’s musical spirit animal are blessed with an ability to capture profound emotion through unusual means, American-born Alex Somers’ work with the band Sigur Ros (and its essential continuation with its bandmate as Jonsi and Alex) now yields a score of singular spirituality as Somers tracks a family of ultra liberals who’ve have truly gone off society’s reservation. His soundtrack’s beautifully ethereal melodies are a unique mix of alt. rock sampling, angelic choruses, Native American winds, accordion […]Read On »


THE JUNGLE BOOK soundtrack – CD Review

THE JUNGLE BOOK soundtrack | ©2016 Walt Disney Records

With his father Louis Debney playing his part in the birth of Disney animation, it was only natural that his musically talented son John would get his start at the studio on his way to turning its beloved 1967 toon into an astonishing example of live action flesh and CGI fur. You can certainly hear the love tonight in Debney’s epic valentine to his alma mater, as well as the inimitable tunes of its greatest songsmiths The Sherman Brothers by reading THE JUNGLE BOOK as it scales new heights for the composer. Debney has done an impressive job segueing from Mickey […]Read On »


The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014 – The Runner Ups and Composers To Watch

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 – The Runner Up’s and Composers To Watch BIG BAD WOLVES  (Frank Ilfman / Movie Score Media) Stop me if you’ve heard the same cinematic tune about a perceived miscreant tied into a chair for all manner of mental, and physical torture to be performed upon him. Thankfully, the Israeli breakout film BIG BAD WOLVES whistles the genre song with smashing black-humored suspense, as captured with a thunderous score by Frank Ilfman, who twists a thrillingly mean symphonic knife as he relentlessly veers between frantic action and sly, Herrmann-esque strings as a set-up for ironic, […]Read On »


CD Review: LAIR soundtrack

LAIR soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

2007’s LAIR stands as a videogame that simultaneously allowed the booming industry to take off and crash to the ground. The big downdraft came from a “Sxixaxis” PS3 control system that was supposed to allow you fly giant lizards with the ease of a dragon rider from Pern. However, it ended up being so frustratingly faulty that thousands of users let fly their controllers towards their television screens (mine included). While players would have to wait for an analog update to truly enjoy the game’s graphic virtues, the one area that immediately met LAIR‘s grand ambitions, and then some, was […]Read On »


CD Review: DRAFT DAY soundtrack

DRAFT DAY soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

As the second “sports” movie after MONEYBALL to deal with the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that makes for a league roster, DRAFT DAY takes on the far more physical world of football with a decidedly less musically cerebral approach. But that doesn’t mean that John Debney is all rhythmic brawn and no brain as he helps make heated phone conversations, chalkboard stats and Machiavellian negotiations into electrifying listening. Re-teaming with Ivan Reitman after helping the director move up a more youth-oriented yard line with the relationship dramedy NO STRINGS ATTACHED, Debney deftly plays between alt, pop rhythm and orchestral emotion […]Read On »


CD Review: BONNIE & CLYDE soundtrack

BONNIE & CLYDE soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Having helped to blast away the ratings for The History Channel’s HATFIELDS & McCOYS with an energetic, rural score (co-composed with Tony Morales) for a post Civil War blood feud, John Debney gets to jump ahead a few decades for more upscale backwoods violence, courtesy of BONNIE & CLYDE. But where them other fightin’ families definitely were lacking in the glamour department, Debney’s musical canvas is increased exponentially by having two jazz age killer kids at his disposal – criminals who wanted to be stars of their own body-splattered “reality” show that made them antisocial media darlings. Debney spectacularly weds […]Read On »


CD Review: HOCUS POCUS soundtrack

HOCUS POCUS soundtrack | ©2013 Intrada Records

Among the spells cast by a company whose fan devotion borders on the scary, Disney’s HOCUS POCUS has bewitched a following easily big enough to form more than a few covens over the last 30 years. Following up his similarly cultish Mouse House musical NEWSIES with this supernatural kid’s comedy-thriller, director Kenny Ortega resurrected three Salem witches on Halloween night, with only a bunch of intrepid kids, a talking black cat and a zombie standing between these twisted sisters and world domination. But if these ladies weren’t exactly threatening (and far more devilishly hot in the broom-flying case of Sarah […]Read On »


CD Review: DREAM HOUSE soundtrack

DREAM HOUSE soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande Records

It’s been a while since John Debney got to score a body count thriller after the savage likes of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, END OF DAYS and THE RELIC, as well as the more beatific spirit of the underrated DRAGONFLY. Now as he enters a DREAM HOUSE that holds the spirits of a murdered family, Debney’s ghost leads with both the heart and raised hair follicles. It’s a nicely measured approach whose musical flooring ranges from the spiritual to the foreboding. Sorrowful violins, girls’ voices, and plaintive themes all make for a nicely melodic visitation, with even […]Read On »




It was a strange, syndicated world in 1987 when a brief quote of Alexander Courage’s inimitable melody launched into Jerry Goldsmith’s theme from ST –TMP– a bold announcement if there ever was one that STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION was going to launch a whole new franchise of Roddenberry-based shows. But as opposed to the kind of bold melodies by the likes of Sol Kaplan, Gerald Fried and George Duning that distinguished the scoring of classic TREK, producers Rick Berman and Peter Lauritson went for a more sleekly homogenous route. While the show and its spin-offs wouldn’t get outrageously distinctive […]Read On »


CD Review: NO STRINGS ATTACHED soundtrack

No Strings Attached Score soundtrack | ©2011 Lakeshore Records

For a manly composer, John Debney has frequently been called upon to sound like a honey-haired escort, no doubt due to his talent for effortlessly conjuring the sweet, heavily-stringed romantic vibe that spells “chick flick” score at the box office. Yet Debney’s rapidly been showing the town he’s a jack-of-all-trades, especially with last year’s zanily ferocious scores to PREDATORS and MACHETE. So it’s equally no surprise that Debney can devolve his rom-com sound to the mid-20’s age of NO STRINGS ATTACHED’s likable bed-hoppers, and sound more authentically creative than ever in the genre. The same thing can be said for […]Read On »

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